Sep 9, 2014

The Defiance of Good

It is not every day that one discovers a hardcore porn flick that viciously assaults everything rotten about the counter-culture generation, especially in regard to their wacky misguided quest to discover new religions and ways of living, but the classic horror-themed S&M blue movie The Defiance of Good (1975) aka Cure Me aka Defiance! directed by pornographic auteur turned horror hack Armand Weston (The Taking of Christina, The Nesting) does just that, as a rare sadomasochistic skin flick with some socially-redeeming value and entrancing expressionistic undertones. Starring a then-only-17-year-old Jean Jennings (Case of the Full Moon Murders, Virgin Dreams), who was an ex-cheerleader turned teenage runaway that later married goofy Guido character actor Joe “Maniac” Spinell, and produced by porn star Jason Russell (who started an affair with Jennings that resulted in the dissolving of his marriage to actress Tina Hall, who became so morbidly depressed by the situation that she drank herself to death by age 32), this quite literally and figuratively penetrating fuck flick depicts the insanity that ensues when an overprotective bitch of a bible-lobotomized mother forces her nubile teenage daughter to go to a mental institution after catching her taking her first hit of cocaine, thus resulting in the titillating teen being gang-raped by a couple Charles Manson look-a-likes and eventually coming under the wing of a demented guru who forces her to lead a ludicrously lecherous life of devout sadomasochistic sacrilege. Somewhat interestingly, star Jean Jennings was the granddaughter of a Baptist minister, thus making The Defiance of Good a rare example of pornographic art imitating life and vice versa. Additionally, the man who plays the Svengali-like quasi-Manson-esque guru, Fred J. Lincoln, was also a pornographer and like producer Jason Russell and hack pornographer Vinnie Rossi (Desire, Max Bedroom), claimed that he was the true ‘auteur’ of the film and not Armand Weston, who was certainly a talented pornographer that was more than capable of directing the film. Strangely artsy and unnervingly atmospheric, refreshingly politically incorrect, sinisterly socially conscious, and pornographically phantasmagorical, Weston’s film dares to make a mockery of the counter-culture movement while also ironically being a direct product of it. A sort of pseudo-metaphysical blue movie where a minister who has lost his faith and congregation sires his own hermetic new age S&M church in a megalomaniacal attempt to spiritually and sexually enslave young girls, The Defiance of Good is ultimately a rather raunchy reminder why no other zeitgeist has produced more crazed charlatans, unhinged high priests, and megalomaniacal gurus than the spiritually and morally forsaken counter-culture generation. 

 After her exceedingly bitchy Catholic mother (Carole Holland) catches her with her drug-addled friend Susan snorting her first hit of coke, naïve teen Cathy (Jean Jennings)—a somewhat busty green-eyed blonde and seemingly untainted daddy's girl who has no idea how brutal the world really is—finds herself in a mental institution that is plagued by gang-rape, forced miscegenation, aggressive bull-dykes, and demented quack doctors who see Thorazine as the cure for all patients, including those claiming to be the victims of sexual pillaging. Indeed, since Cathy’s father (‘Roderick Usher’ aka Steve Lincoln) is a cowardly old cuckold (indeed, the mother even says to Cathy, “you should know now that your daddy isn’t the strongest person in the world”) who will not stand-up for his daughter, even though he wants to, the teen is forced to face institutionalization at the psyche ward of a grungy little place called Eastwood General Hospital. During her first couple of minutes at the hospital, Cathy is forced to strip completely naked for a heinous high yellow negro with a sick sense of humor and a contempt for white people who then proceeds to give her a phony “exam” by reaming his dirty dark fingers up her virginal vagina and tight rectum. As a decidedly demented dyke who randomly starts masturbating in front of the teen states regarding the doctors, “They call themselves doctor…They’re crazier than the rest of us.” Upon talking to a mentally perturbed would-be-poet that looks like a cross between Charles Manson and Jamie Gillis, Cathy is absurdly told: “I am the world’s greatest poet. Baudelaire…Rimbaud…William Blake…their blood flows through my veins,” thus indicating that The Door front man Jim Morrison has had a rather detrimental effect on the discernibly despoiled baby boomer generation.  When Cathy is gang-raped late one night by two Manson look-a-likes and a nefarious token negro, she tells the head doctor, who is an exceedingly effete fat fag that resembles John Waters' man-muse Divine minus the drag, but he does not believe her and orders the nasty negro orderly to put her on a steady dose of Thorazine.  Of course, after drugging her, the jigaboo also rapes Cathy, but thankfully the rape in question is not actually depicted in the film, thus indicating that people were sane enough at the time of the film's release to be repulsed by interracial sex scenes.  Needless to say, things are not exactly looking up for Cathy, but when she meets a seemingly empathetic, smart, soft-spoken, and ‘progressive’ physician named Dr. Gabriel (Fred J. Lincoln) who offers the chance to stay at his private sanitarium, she finds her way out of the hospital of hell. Of course, little does Cathy realize that Dr. Gabriel is a loony lapsed minister turned malevolent madman and S&M messiah who forces teenage girls into largely degrading sadomasochistic sexual servitude. 

 Upon entering Dr. Gabriel's rather strange and perennially shadowy yet elegantly decorated sanitarium, little lamb Cathy is given the following pretentious hippie spiel from the good doctor: “Our task is…to break the stranglehold of the past. We must liberate ourselves from the old traditions and concepts of good and evil that simply have no place…NO PLACE in the modern world. In order to be free, we must unlearn all the moral values that your misguided parents have taught you. You will learn to free your spirit and your flesh! […] I will be your teacher, your guru…the father that you never had. You will obey me as a newborn child and I will lead you to knowledge.”  Indeed, like a newborn child, Cathy will be doing a lot of crawling around naked.  Of course, being a dimwitted gal who lacks even the smallest inkling of intuition and common sense, Cathy has no clue what Gabriel is talking about it, at least not until his assistant Miss Caine (Heather Ellis) brings her into a dark bathroom and attempts to put her in bondage. In no time, Gabriel and his debauched disciples literally whip Cathy into shape by getting her involved in leather-clad orgies featuring whips, chains, bondage, and groveling cunnilingus-inclined male slaves. While being whipped, Cathy is told by Gabriel in a Manson-esque fashion: “You must die so you can be reborn.” Of course, Cathy is eventually reborn and molded into a sort of sexually cultivated automaton with a talent for giving and receiving painful pleasure. When Cathy attempts to get in bed with Gabriel, she is firmly denied, with the deranged and seemingly sexually impotent doc stating, “Don’t ever touch me. My pleasures are in the mind…they are far more exquisite than any temptation of the flesh.” When Cathy tells Gabriel that he sounds like a priest, he concurs and matter-of-factually replies in a pseudo-poetic monotone fashion: “I am a priest…in my own way. My father was a minister. And he made sure I became one too. I will perish is the poorest part of town. Noises from the local whorehouse kept me awake at night…Teasing my mind with the wildest fantasies. I was tormented with sexual horror. My guts ached for the touch of a woman. I tried to fight it…bury it…I had my own congregation at 28…It was a lovely young girl. Anyway, I lost my faith, I lost the church. I tried to resume a normal life but it was too late. Physically, I was useless. I traveled, I read, I studied. I knew what I had to do. This is my church and you, you are part of my new congregation.”  Of course, when it comes to his cruelly carnal church, Gabriel has nil tolerance when it comes to heretics and Cathy is about to learn that the hard way.

 While Dr. Gabriel eventually tells Cathy that she is free to go since she has been fully initiated into his pseudo-spiritual program of sadomasochistic (dis)pleasure, he also lets her know that if she does decide to leave, she will never be able to come back to the sanitarium of sin. Fully brainwashed by now, Cathy naturally opts to stay, at least a little while longer, but her loyalties are ultimately tested when he friend Susan (Day Jason)—the same girl that gave her the drugs that landed her in the loony bin in the first place—is brought in as a new initiate to the S&M church. After pleasuring Susan’s pussy with her tongue, Cathy bonds with her old friend who, not surprisingly considering the specific set of circumstances, wants to escape from the sanatorium immediately. While Cathy admits that she would like to stay because, as she states to her friend, “I don’t know if you can understand…I’m not really sure I understand myself…but in a certain way, I feel safe here. I feel protected…even needed” (undoubtedly, Cathy's remark reflects why people join cults/religions in the first place), Susan eventually convinces her to help her to escape from the sanitarium. In a silly, if not admittedly momentarily startling, twist ending, it is revealed that Susan setup Cathy all along and that her begging her ‘friend’ to help her escape from the clutches of Gabriel and his followers was merely a cunning ploy to test the teen’s devotion to the church. As to what happens to Cathy after that, one can only guess, but I would not be surprised if the deranged deviants of Gabriel’s sexually sadistic congregation burnt her clit off while she was still alive, killed her during some sort of bloody S&M session involving knife-like dildos, and then sodomized her corpse. 

 While looking up background information on The Defiance of Good, I managed to find a vintage The New York Post article from Tuesday, January 28, 1975 entitled “A Cheerleader Grows Up” about the film’s underage star Jean Jennings and her role in the film. After revealing that Jennings lied about her age to be in the film by signing a release saying she was 23, it is also revealed that the film’s distributor Mickey Zaffarano—a morbidly obese mafia man who ran porno theaters and national porn distribution company for the Guido Bonanno family crime family—decided to release the work anyways despite the fact that the lead was underage, with his super sophisticated Sicilian reasoning being as follows: “Now, what do I do? Can the law stop me from exhibiting?” In the same article, Jenning also appears in good spirits about her profession, even claiming that her father supports her career in cinematic carnality, stating, “my father is very proud of me. He hasn't seen the film but he knows what kind of movie it is and he wants to help me in my acting career” (not surprisingly, the newspaper was unable to reach Jennings' parents for comment).  Of course, after seeing The Defiance of Good, I doubt any parents would be proud of their child being in the film, even as an extra, as the work may make a mockery of the corrosive cocktail of sex, drugs, and gurus associated with the counter-culture generation, but it is still sleazy celluloid filth that makes the viewer feel like they need to take a long cold shower after watching it.  Somewhat shockingly, the film was so popular upon its release that, like Jonas Middleton's somewhat superior avant-garde hardcore horror flick Through The Looking Glass (1976) starring Jamie Gills, a tie-in novel was subsequently released that was written by the assumedly pseudonymous novelist D.M. Perkins, who was also responsible for penning the tie-in novel for Gerard Damiano's crossover hit Deep Throat (1972) starring Linda Lovelace. With his later work Take Off—a genre-eclectic pornographic reworking of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891)—auteur Armand Weston would prove he was capable of more ‘lighthearted’ celluloid lechery, but there is no denying that there was a certain sadistic spirit behind The Defiance of Good.  Indubitably one of the most sensual and sensitively directed S&M fuck flicks that I have ever seen, Weston’s film is not disturbing because it features gang-rape, multicultural finger-fucking, and Sapphic sadomasochism but because it depicts the unhinged mentality of an entire generation that, like the protagonist of the film, suffers from Stockholm syndrome and is responsible for the degenerate post-cultural/post-racial/post-spiritual/post-moral America that exists today.

-Ty E

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